2006-03-17 / Sports

'Game 6' Movie Doesn't Go the Distance

Review By John J. Buro

Game 6 is a Serenade Films and Double Play Production in association with Vox3 Films and Shadowcatcher Entertainment. Starring Michael Keaton, Griffin Dunne, Ari Graynor, Shalom Harlow, Bebe Neuwirth, Catherine O'Hara, and Robert Downey Jr. The film is produced by Amy Robinson, Griffin Dunne, Leslie Urdang and Christina Weiss Lurie. Running Time: 83 minutes. Rating: R

New York, 1986. Nicky Rogan, a die-hard Boston Red Sox, finally has that long-awaited chance to celebrate a World Series victory. The Sox are one game away from winning their first championship since 1918.

Rogan [played frantically by Michael Keaton] is a well-known playwright who longs for another Broadway hit. Along the way, he encounters several dilemmas. And, as the world around him slowly crumbles, the most glaring of these troubles comes to the forefront. On the evening of October 25, as the Sox prepared to play the hometown Mets at Shea Stadium, his new play is about to open.

First, Rogan is informed by his sultry daughter [Ari Graynor, who first gained acclaim as Meadow Soprano's troubled college roommate in Season Three of " The Sopranos ."] that her mother wants a divorce. Then, his mistress [Bebe Neuwirth] tells him that the lead actor in his play has a parasite in his brain and, consequently, can't remember his lines. Finally, an old acquaintance [Griffin Dunne, who also produced] regales him with recent tales of Steven Schwimmer [Robert Downey, Jr.], a critic so poisonous, the local theatre community is terrorized of him.

Still, only this one baseball game matters to Rogan, a character obsessed by the Boston's previous Seventh Game losses, in 1946, 1967 and 1975. Perhaps, he realized that a Game 7 would doom his beloved Sox [which it ultimately did]. But, Rogan inexplicably harps on the 1946 failure, although he was too young to recall it [Keaton, himself, was born in 1951].

The Rogan character is in virtually every scene throughout the film's 83 minutes and, therefore, much of the supporting cast is a mere footnote. The need to introduce characters who have little relevance is puzzling. And, if the audience doesn't know that New York is universally accepted as the world's melting pot, Don DeLillo's script reminds us, over and over, through a series of conversations with foreign-born cabdrivers.

Like 'Frequency,' the 2000 surprise hit, this movie also uses archival World Series footage. But, if you want to see clips from the '86 WS, put the admittance fee toward purchasing the DVD.

Although 'Game 6' [which is set for simultaneous releases in Boston and New York on March 10] puts runners on bases, it never fully delivers in the clutch.

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